Finland MFA calls on EU to donate EUR 20B on Ukraine defense

Finland, one of the largest donors of military aid to Ukraine, stands in favor of sharing this burden across Europe so the allocation of EUR 20 billion within the European Peace Fund could be a massive achievement in this regard.

This was stated by Finland’s Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen in Brussels ahead of the Gymnich meeting of EU top diplomats, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

“Finland has been calling for the maximum amount (of aid to Ukraine – ed.) we can achieve. The main idea is that by aiding Ukraine, we are aiding ourselves: we are ramping up our own defense and our own deterrence also for the future. It is extremely important that we are scaling up our defense industry. And now that we are in the short and medium term aiding Ukraine, it helps us getting orders also for our own cause,” the minister said.

She emphasized the importance of seeing a common European response to the need to support Ukraine. At the bilateral level, Finland is one of the most powerful donors when it comes to the supply of military materiel and defense equipment to Ukraine.

“But we need to do European-wide burden sharing. And we think that this long-term EUR 20 billion commitment would have been a fantastic achievement. But, whatever we can do on a common basis, we we are there,” Valtonen emphasized.

The head of Finnish diplomacy emphasized that her country joined NATO after Russia launched a full-scale incursion into Ukraine. It was then that the people of Finland realized that Russia is an unpredictable and aggressive power and acknowledged the need for extra protection. At the same time, Finland has been actively investing in its own defense and deterrence system for decades.

“Finland has never threatened Russia. NATO is an alliance for defense, so we joined NATO in order to strengthen not only our security, but that of the entire northern flank of Europe. Of course, we are bringing our capabilities for the use of the entire alliance,” the minister said.

Commenting on the situation around the shutdown of border crossings with Russia, Valtonen noted that Moscow itself provoked the move by allowing access to the border to potential illegal migrants without proper IDs, helping them get to the border, and helping them cross it.

“This is hybrid warfare. We cannot have a third country, especially a country like Russia who has self-declared that it’s hostile to us, to choose on our behalf which people are to enter Finland, the Schengen area, or the NATO area. Therefore we had to react very promptly and close the entire eastern border,” the minister emphasized.

She noted that the government is exploring ways to legally allow people who have the right to seek asylum in Finland and other European countries to cross into the country.

Finland seeks to get back to normal, at least at some checkpoints, she said, adding that “Russia cannot be blaming us, it’s they who have been causing the changes,” concluded Valtonen.